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EastEnders: The real reason Linda Carter left Walford last night

Mick's missus received some bad news...

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The Carter family parted at Christmas? Only if Hell freezes over! That, or Linda’s mother gets ill!

Yes, Easties fans, we know it looked promising for them after last year’s high-octane drama, but don’t be expecting a cosy Christmas Day for the Carters tonight.

Linda has abandoned her brood.

With good reason, though.

During an emotional scene on Christmas Eve, Linda the Queen Vic matriarch received a call informing her that her mum had suffered a stroke.

Leaving her husband behind, Linda dashed to the airport for a flight to Spain.

If the storyline seemed a bit sudden and weak, it’s because soap bosses needed a reason to let Linda disappear from the drama for a while, so actress Kellie Bright can take maternity leave.

She and her husband Paul Stocker were awaiting baby number two last month.

The couple already have five-year-old son Freddy together.

Kellie announced her pregnancy earlier this year on Twitter: “Shhh… Don’t tell anyone, but I’m pregnant! My hubby and I are over the moon & looking forward 2 meeting our little person in Nov #Mama@40 (sic).”

Don’t worry, Easties addicts, the soap fave will not be absent for ages.

She told Inside Soap magazine: “I’ll be on maternity leave for six months.

“EastEnders were really flexible and left it entirely up to me.

“I didn’t want to be away forever but I also wanted enough time at home to enjoy my new baby.”

Meanwhile another event in EastEnders this Christmas Eve got viewers hot and very bothered.

The soap had managed to keep the return of legendary character Michelle Fowler secret almost until her return.

News was released (leaked?) on the day of her arrival… including the revelation that a new actress would be taking over the role from Susan Tully.

Just as well, for when she landed on Albert Square a few people might have been a tad confused.

And the character returning with a new head didn’t impress…

Still, Sharon looked thrilled to see her ‘Chelle back.